In this paper, we present and apply a multi-level method for discourse analysis in science classrooms. This method is based on the structure of human activity (activity, actions, and operations) and it was applied to study a pre-service physics teacher methods course. We argue that such an approach, based on a cultural psychological perspective, affords opportunities for analysts to perform a theoretically based detailed analysis of discourse events. Along with the presentation of analysis, we show and discuss how the articulation of different levels offers interpretative criteria for analyzing instructional conversations. We synthesize the results into a model for a teacher's practice and discuss the implications and possibilities of this approach for the field of discourse analysis in science classrooms. Finally, we reflect on how the development of teachers' understanding of their activity structures can contribute to forms of progressive discourse of science education.
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